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Top Hacks for Visiting The Alhambra in Granada, Spain

When it comes to backpacking, I’m not very good at planning ahead.

I like to embrace the spontaneity of being able to go wherever I want and change my plans at the drop of a hat if somewhere else tickles my fancy. This way of travelling has a lot of benefits however, it also has a few downfalls when sights book up fast.

This is what happened to me with The Alhambra.

A sprawling 14th century palace and fortress complex tucked away in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, The Alhambra in Granada is understandably one of the most visited spots in Spain and in high season, tickets can sell out months in advance. When my Mum told me this little bit of information, I wasn’t best pleased, The Alhambra was the only reason why I was going to Granada…

My first attempt at getting a ticket was a big fat epic fail. Every day I was in Granada they were sold out (ironically each day either side was available…). Nevertheless, I didn’t let this faulter me and I relentlessly continued to try and get a ticket, which I eventually did (woop).

If you find yourself in a similar debacle, here are a few hacks that can help you secure yourself a trip to The Alhambra.

You don’t actually need a general ticket to enter The Alhambra

I know! All this stress about getting a general ticket and you don’t actually need a ticket that covers all areas of the Alhambra to enter.

The complex is broken up into three main areas – Alcazaba, Generalife and Nasrid Palace and there are six different ticket options available to purchase. The general ticket that covers everything, including the Nasrid Palace, is the ticket type that sells out so quickly. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a ticket to see the Alcazaba, Generalife and the rest of the grounds.

The Nasrid Palace was beautiful but it was probably my least favourite area of the complex due to how busy it was, so don’t feel like you’re missing out too much if you can’t get a ticket to enter.

Likelihood is, if you check general tickets and there are none available, you’ll be able to get a different ticket that will still allow you to see the majority of The Alhambra. 

Re-check the website even if it says there’s no tickets available

If you’re desperate to visit the Nasrid Palace and there are no General tickets on the website when you first check, don’t panic – there is still a chance you could nab a ticket! When I first went on the website to buy my ticket it said they were all sold out. However, a day or two later I checked again and there was one time slot available, hallelujah. 

Check the website after midnight on the day you want to visit

This was a little tip our hostel (El Granado – definitely stay here if you’re looking for a hostel) gave their guests if they hadn’t managed to get a ticket.

From midnight, any cancelled tickets for that day will become available again for resale. Grab some late night sangria and tapas and have your phone at the ready to check the website at midnight.

The Alhambra is an intoxicating complex and a visit here is essential when you’re in Granada… if not Spain. I hope these tips will help you get a ticket and spare you the flap I had when I thought I wouldn’t be able to explore this architectural masterpiece on my trip.  

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